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November 05, 2011

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Unbelievable: "another quasi-literate No on L sign." OK, so if someone opposed Measure L and made their own sign, they are illiterate and a non-college grad? So the homemade sign convinced you to vote yes on Measure L and not the merits of the proposition?

Did you make that brilliant observation on your way to an OWS rally?

As an outsider I didn't get a voice on Measure L. What seems apparent is that most agree there is a connection between education and property values. Education is so important to our national makeup, yet it seems less important than whether we can marry our own gender.

Money alone is not the answer, and I think this nation has to have a larger discussion -- how do we get our education system back on track? "We" are being successful at raising a generation of service employees while the rest of the world is raising doctors, engineers, etc.

Here in Nevada we are facing a crisis. The high school dropout rate is at an all-time high. Like most states, our higher education is becoming more expensive.

After WWII, the USA and many of its allies stressed education, encouraging as many as possible to get a college education. We, along with some allies, became nations of doers and visionaries. This seems to have ended.

I feel the pain of those who cannot afford ever-rising property taxes. I also fear for this country's continued existence as more and more of our children fail to get a good education. We need a solution, not just for Pacifica or California but for our country.

Congratulations to the Measure L team on an effective and very well-run campaign.

Todd,

"property values define school budgets. This is why richer communities get more money than poorer ones. Right or wrong, that is the math."

But also: there is much evidence that good schools lead to an increase in property values, which leads to richer communities, including the communities your neighbors live in.

Rich

Another quasi-literate "No On L" sign was posted at the north side of Westmoreland where it junctions with Skyline so it's visible to Pacifica residents as they drive home from the Peninsula down Sharp Park Road, likely posted by a non-college grad. It would be nice if Pacifica culture could include good education -- a key ingredient to a happy, productive life and healthy community.

Well, I did vote YES ON L after all. What convinced me: the quasi-literate "NO ON L" sign at the East Sharp Park turn onto Sharp Park Road.

Jake, the last garbage rate hike drew more than 300 protests. The last sewer tax increase drew more than 200. Just for comparison, the last garbage rate hike in San Bruno drew a total of 2 protests.
If I had the money to do a mass mailing, we probably could stop one or both of these increases.

All that being said, I think the school district is a different case from what the city is doing to the taxpayers.

Todd, it was not my intent to belittle your concerns. I commend you for thinking about the impact to your neighbors. I just wanted to point out that each and every one of your neighbors, by voting, can make their own voices heard.

Tom, please do not belittle the dilemma I am in. I wouldn't do that to you.

Here's an idea that will appeal to Lionel: Votes that aren't received are assumed "No" votes. By using this standard, maybe we won't have so many garbage or water rate hikes. Go ahead and change it to a majority vote. Then the proponents must really make a compelling argument to the voting public.

Lionel, do you have any idea how many people actually sent in some kind of objection letter to the city about the last rate hike? Do you honestly think that the percentage of voters who did not respond is a fair representation of people actually in favor of the hike? Or is it just apathy?

Todd, while I appreciate your concern about voting to raise your neighbors' property tax, I think the voting system fairly addresses it.

Those who are in favor of measure L vote for it.

Those who are against it vote no.

Those who don't care or are uninterested do nothing.

Since it takes a super-majority to pass, more value is given to each no vote.
Your neighbors will be heard; that is what voting is all about.

All I was pointing out was that property values are falling independent of how good the schools are. I voted yes on Measure L; I think it's necessary. The new aspect is: Property values are falling, independent of school quality.

You could say: People are motivated to move to a community where schools are good. That's entirely possible.
But to say that schools dictate how real estate values go is not necessarily valid.

Good schools mean people will come in and pay a premium for housing. Look at West Menlo Park and Palo Alto. The strongest real estate market on the West Coast.

Why? Great schools!!!

Lionel, property values define school budgets. This is why richer communities get more money than poorer ones. Right or wrong, that is the math.

When you vote on this issue (and please do vote whether you support it or not), you are not voting to tax yourself but to tax all your neighbors. If this were simply a voluntary tax or donation, that would be one thing, but if you support Measure L, you are voting to raise the property taxes of all your neighbors. That is the math of Measure L. It's the decision I'm grappling with.

Dan, are you suggesting that the schools are solely responsible for the academic scores? I don't agree. Are they also solely responsible for the general behavior of a child? No, they're not. But how much did PSD lose on court settlements as a result of bullying? You remember the term "one-room schoolhouse"? How much more did kids learn there with so few resources? It was at the insistence of the parents that their kids performed as well as possible. God knows, the administrators get paid much more handsomely than teachers. Why not scrap Measure L and encourage all residents -- owners, renters, visitors, businesses, etc. -- to contribute what they want to? Then we'll really see how much people value public education. Look at NPR's model.

"...remember that property values are highest in communities that have good schools. They also fall rapidly if the schools falter."

That was always a given, a belief, but things have changed. Property values are falling with no relationship to the schools; it's the housing bubble's collapse that's causing it.

Whatever happened to donating the amount you believe a school district should have from you to be adequately supported according to your personal principles? That way you don't have to be a property owner to contribute a share or lay the whole burden on property owners when the societal obligation, according to some, is more general.

And isn't it amazing that after repeated corrections over many years, some people still don't understand that the school district and the city are separate entities?

I for one have no problem voting for this measure, and for those property owners who need a reason other than supporting our kids, remember that property values are highest in communities that have good schools. They also fall rapidly if the schools falter.

Dan, the schools are not underfunded. PSD spends $29 million a year on 3,226 students. The state is not reducing funding; the economy is. Please feel free to not misrepresent budget conditions.

Yes, Jake, good parenting is very important. That is hardly an excuse for underfunding our schools. I can't think of a better place to put 29 cents a day. I find it admirable that our schools have done so well with so little. Our response to their success should not be to see how little they can survive on until they fail.

No doubt we would all be better off if we had a well-educated community, but an additional $96/year for five years won't do it. Consistent parental oversight and involvement in their children's behavior will.

Voting yes on Measure L is a long-term view: Keeping people educated is one great way to keep them happily, gainfully employed contributing members of society. It's hard to pay yet another tax, but it sure beats living in a community that's not well educated.

Given the importance of Measure L, you would think that our City Council would endorse and work to support its passage so they don't have to spend the week after sighing and shaking their heads and wringing their hands. Have we heard a word from the mayor? Oh wait, these are children, not dogs, we are talking about. I expected too much.

Dan --

The weasel rents.

Personally, I think people would be shocked at how much is spent on loss prevention. But you're right in that those costs are passed on to the consumer.

Steve --

When you can offer indemnification, let me know.

In the meantime, enlighten the rest of these readers to know what kinds of controls and procedures the school district has in place with respect to its tools and vehicles.

Go ahead and vote your conscience.

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